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Ewon Case Studies

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Remote monitoring of hovercraft

By using Netbiter, Griffon Hoverwork and their customers can keep track of their hovercraft wherever they are. The Netbiter remote management solution gives them online access to vessel status and operation which means they can reduce service trips and maintenance costs while giving their customers an even more reliable vessel.
Netbiter allows us to detect deteriorating machinery and plan for it to be repaired in advance.
Robert Egan, Electrical Systems Engineer
Griffon Hoverwork


Hovercraft are marine vessels which operate by creating a cushion of air between the hull of the vessel and the surface below. This makes it possible to operate over almost any flat surface including shallow water, ice, vegetation, mud, logs and debris, rapids and floodplains. One of the world’s leading manufacturers of hovercraft is Griffon Hoverwork Ltd. based in Southampton UK. 


When Griffon Hoverwork was building a hovercraft for Hovertravel Ltd who offers hovercraft service between Portmouth and the Isle of Wight, they started looking into a remote monitoring system. “We liked the fact that Netbiter had offshore experience and that it would cover most of the parameters required within our budget", says Paul Newton, Electrical Design Team Leader at Griffon Hoverwork. "Also, the system has the flexibility to change and expand for future craft requirements.”


How it works 

The communication between the different devices inside the hovercraft is carried out via a marine-specific CAN-bus called Empirbus and information is gathered in so-called EmpirBus DCM units. The machinery data, for example, fuel levels, running hours, propeller pitch, temperatures etc., is displayed inside the vessel using Murphy HMIs. 

These HMIs are also able to convert data from the CAN-bus to Modbus which was perfect for the Netbiter gateways which use Modbus to communicate.

The Netbiter gateways send data via the cellular network to the Netbiter Argos web service. By logging into www.netbiter.net, Griffon Hoverwork and Hovertravel can see live data from the shore – the same data that is visible in the HMI panels at sea.

The data is also stored in the Netbiter Argos database for trend reports and analysis. Furthermore, it is also possible to get alarms whenever certain thresholds are reached.